When I met up with well-known artist, Darrell Anderson, all of the praise and accolades he has received throughout the years appeared to follow him into our interview. This producer of beautiful artwork and a keen “observer of life” is legendary in our community.
Anderson grew up in old Five Points, attended East Denver High School…. and after graduation, he joined the U.S. Army and went on to serve in Vietnam. Darrell reflects: “We just wanted to serve our country and make it home alive.” Indeed and thankfully he made it home. Upon his return, Anderson needed a job and impressed and charmed the recruiters at Frontier Airlines. He became the first male flight attendant employed at the airline working there for 12 years – but never giving up on his art. “At that time, I was surprised to land the job!” says the well-traveled Anderson.
Darrell has public art on display at DIA, the U.S. Customs House in Denver, and in numerous homes and offices all over the world…. and in many forms of media. His love for art is not only reflected in his work, but also by his desire to nurture new generations of artists by teaching children to express themselves through their artwork.
The Colorado Ballet which showcases his remarkable work remarks: “Darrell’s journey with the Colorado Ballet has been a shining example of what’s possible with engagement and collaboration.”
So there you have it…. Darrell Anderson will not be slowing down anytime soon. He surely is in a good place!
(See Darrell’s illustrious work on his website: DarrellAnderson.com)
When did you realize you had such remarkable artistic talent? The day I was able to see and understand and experience a visual orchestration of nature.
How does your background & personal story tie in with your work & the impact you have made on the community? I was born into a family community that thought of creative arts as a non-factor in one’s life. After finding the courage to pursue a career of becoming a full time artist, community intervened. It was always an extension of who I am.
Is there a particular artist you studied who influenced your work? Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden; not necessarily the type of work they created, but for what they accomplished during their careers. African Americans who became Global.
Who are some of our historical figures you admire? Undoubtedly heroes like Gandhi, Martin Luther-King, Nelson Mandela, who all came from a place of putting our guns down, no violence, and trying to solve issues with morality, good principles, a powerful dedication to peace, & love/respect for all people. Those willing to become like them can unite the world.
What have you done through the years to help the career trajectory of your art? I risk new creativity every chance I get. I’m more interested in taking the journey of discovery then playing it safe.
Who are your fans & followers? Hopefully the ones who detest me being non-conforming, ones who light up when they experience my vulnerability, and those who recognize that art provokes thought…. good or bad.
Do you look for public projects? And which ones are you involved with? Not as much as I used to. The artistic energy it takes to be successful at it is not for every artist.
You are though very involved in the community. How do you decide where you time, talent, & energy will go? Opportunity presents itself all the time if you are open to it. As long as I have been at this, I get to choose what I want to engage in.
What do you need, as far as your surroundings, mood & motivation, to create a piece of art? The moment I wake up. It all starts with what I see, what I smell, what I feel, what I hear, and what I taste. Then I can dance with love!
How do you determine what to charge for your artwork? Compared to when I started, and what my 33 years of experience selling art have become.
You paint in different media & styles. Do you also use your talents to paint about social issues or politics? I challenge myself to experience all types of mediums. Yes, how can a creative person ignore the essence of who we are? The power of creativity consistently is changing our world. Not using my ability to express what's going on in the world through my art would be a shame.
What is your fondest childhood memories? Looking into the sky and saying to myself that one day I will be there. Having Polio when I was young and paralyzed on my left side, and one day waking up and scribbling on the hospital wall with my left hand. I’m left handed!
What is the most important lesson your parents taught you? That my life was mine, and I could accomplish anything I wanted.
How do you feel about all the changes in your old Five Points neighborhood? Sometimes you just have to embrace what has evolved and allow the old to be replaced by the new.
How do you decide what charity you will donate your art to? The ones I have an emotional attachment to.
Can you name a few? Clothes to Kids of Denver; National Jewish Health, Mental Health Colorado, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, to name a few.
What’s in the future for Darrell Anderson? Creativity in my front and back pocket.
Boils down to the next creative adventure. I am creatively involved in public art, painting and teaching. That's where my heart is.
Where can we see your art? My website: darrellanderson.com. My studio is the place to experience my newest work. A list of my "Public Art" is on my website!
How do you want to be remembered? Hopefully that I gave more than I received and made a difference with my creativity. That I understood that none of this was possible without a power greater than myself, which allows me to recognize it’s not about the accolades but unconditional giving that might be a reward long after I’m gone.